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What is Aquascaping?

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

Aquascaping is the process of creating an aesthetically pleasing and functional underwater landscape in an aquarium or other container that is filled with water. It involves the selection and placement of rocks, plants, and other decorative elements to create a natural-looking habitat for aquatic life.


Aquascapers use a variety of techniques to create depth, movement, and visual interest in the tank, and may also incorporate lighting, filtration, and other equipment to support the health and well-being of the plants and animals living in the aquascape. Some aquascapers focus on creating realistic replicas of natural habitats, while others take a more artistic approach and use their imagination to create unique and imaginative underwater worlds.


Shallow Aquascaped tank

There different types of aquascaping.

There are several different styles of aquascaping that have been developed over the years, each with its own distinctive look and set of characteristics. Some of the most popular styles of aquascaping include:

  1. Nature Aquascape: This style aims to replicate a specific natural habitat, such as a tropical rainforest or a rocky coastline. Nature aquascapes often feature a variety of plants, rocks, and other decorative elements that are chosen to mimic the look and feel of the habitat being depicted.

  2. Dutch Aquascape: This style is characterised by the use of a limited number of plant species, which are carefully arranged in a formal, structured manner. Dutch aquascapes often feature a variety of different plant heights and textures, and may include the use of colourful foreground plants to create visual interest.

  3. Japanese Aquascape: This style is characterised by the use of a limited number of plant species and a focus on simplicity and minimalism. Japanese aquascapes often feature a single, dominant plant species and a limited number of rocks or other decorative elements.

  4. Biotope Aquascape: This style involves replicating a specific natural habitat and its plants and animals as closely as possible. Biotope aquascapes are designed to recreate the natural conditions of a particular region or ecosystem, and may include a variety of plants, rocks, and other decorative elements that are chosen to replicate the look and feel of the habitat being depicted.

  5. Planted Aquascape: This style focuses on the use of a variety of plant species to create a lush, verdant underwater landscape. Planted aquascapes may include a variety of different plant heights and textures, and may feature a range of different plant species, including both hardy and more delicate varieties.



Aquascapes do not always have fish in them.

Aquascapes can be created with or without fish, depending on the preferences and goals of the person creating the aquascape. Some people create aquascapes as a form of artistic expression or as a way to create a beautiful and peaceful living environment, and may choose not to include fish in their aquascape. Others may create an aquascape as a way to create a habitat for a specific type of fish or other aquatic life, and will carefully select and introduce appropriate species to the tank. It's important to note that, even if an aquascape does not include fish, it still requires proper care and maintenance to ensure the health and well-being of the plants and other elements in the tank. This may include providing adequate lighting, nutrients, and water quality, as well as regularly pruning and trimming plants and cleaning the tank to remove excess algae and debris.


The Basics of Aquascaping


The whole aquascaping process may seem difficult to accomplish in the beginning. But it’s not as hard as it looks if you follow a simple set of principles. Like in the case of any creative development, aquascaping commits greatly to a reliable knowledge resource and relies heavily on your imagination. Obtaining the perfect balance between efficiently used scientific principles and creativity is possibly the hardest to achieve.


A few things to think about when you start out Aquascaping.

Keep things simple - Aquascaping is all about taste and usually, less elements is more. Very often people are tempted to incorporate as many types of plants as possible, thinking that this would ensure a great visual variety, but most of the times the result is the opposite. Variety - Keeping it simple does not mean using one type of plant only. Even if your intention is to create a theme, you don’t want your aquascape to look boring. Remember, imagination plays a key role in aquascaping!

Proportion - It’s very important to give a sense of harmony to your tank, so try to have as much open space as filled space. Avoid using only large leaf plants because they take from the proportion and depth of your aquascape. Persistence - Aquascaping can become frustrating, be sure of that! So be ready to deconstruct and reconstruct if there’s something you don’t like about your aquascape. The more you experiment, the better you will get at it. Practice makes perfect.

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